Neighbours Back From Hell developed by FarbWorks and published by HandyGames has players step into the role of a Woody, vengeful man intent on making his obnoxious neighbor Mr. Rottweiler’s life miserable. To do this Woody enlists the help of a reality show called Neighbors From Hell to film him as he pranks Mr. Rottweiler in various locations throughout the world.
Let’s face it; we’ve all had neighbors we didn’t care for. Neighbours back From Hell allows players to enact a scenario most have dreamt of at least once or twice – even if they don’t want to admit it.
The core of the game is simple. Woody sneaks into Mr. Rottweiler’s house and later into various aspects of his vacation to set up elaborate pranks while a camera crew films everything for live TV. To succeed, players must figure out how to lay a set number of traps without being seen by Mr. Rottweiler. Getting caught will lead to Mr. Rottweiler beating Woody up and knocking him into another area. Getting caught three times results in failure.
The game begins simply with only a few rooms in Mr. Rottweiler’s house open for you to sabotage. As you sneak around the house you must find various items to either combine, swap, or sabotage. Just a few of the rather harsh pranks Woody pulls includes laying electrical wire in pools of water, hiding sandals in a pair of steaks, replacing cake candles with dynamite, laying tacks on chairs, replacing shampoo with hair growth formula, and loosening bolts on exercise equipment.
Mr. Rottweiler always moves in a pre-determined path, so avoiding him isn’t too hard as long as you take a moment to memorize his routine. There are various areas to hide, including closets and under beds, as well as doors which allow you to quickly switch floors. As you progress you will encounter sections where you will barely have enough time to set up a prank and hide before being caught, so simply memorizing Mr. Rottweiler’s path isn’t enough – you have to be able to enact your plan and hide quickly or face failure.
These early levels are fun but grow up a bit repetitive as many of the pranks are repeated in each episode. Thankfully, the house does gradually open, revealing new floors and rooms which allow for more unique pranks to be set up. Likewise, the difficulty will slowly ramp up as various obstacles are added, including parrots and dogs which will notify Mr. Rottweiler of your presence if they hear you.
After the first two seasons of the TV show are completed – which consists of six episodes (levels) each – you will move on to following Mr. Rottweiler during his ill-fated cruise to China and India.
These levels are a breath of fresh air after the confines of the house because they allow for more creative pranks to be pulled while taking Woody and Mr. Rottweiler to a wider variety of locations including a cruise ship, China, the beachfront, and India.
While the core gameplays remains the same throughout Neighbours, thanks to the episodic nature of the game it never really grows stale or overstays its welcome. It remains fun throughout to figure out how the various objects at your disposal can be used to torment poor Mr. Rottweiler and if a particular area doesn’t interest you there’s no worry as levels rarely last more than 10 minutes.
I’ll have to admit, from the start I had a soft spot for Neighbours due to nostalgia. The gameplay is reminiscent of an old Sega Genesis game I adored called Haunting Starring Polterguy. In Haunting you played a ghost determined to scare family members out of various houses by sneaking around and possessing various objects. You won by scaring every member out of the house separately. I’ve always wondered why more games hadn’t pulled a few ideas from Haunting as it was one of the most unique gaming experiences I’ve had. So stepping into Neighbours felt like reliving my past.
Neighbours back From Hell is a fun game. While the campaign will only take most players four or so hours to complete, the 25 levels will keep most players entertained throughout. It is great fun to play with friends and try to work out the best ways to terrorize Mr. Rottweiler and would serve as a great time killer during a fall weekend.